Monday, May 25, 2020
Dave Carlock - A Day In The Life
Originally Posted: 06-07-2013 7:52 PM
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I was talking with a fellow producer friend the other day, comparing notes about the projects we were working on. He indicated that he had done a first recording for a well-known artist who was really impressed and that he was waiting for word on moving forward with more material. What he said next caused me to reflect: “I’m not gonna keep calling him, he knows where I am. I know he likes what I did for him.” Been there & thought that, but I decided to be a friend and tell him what all creative types need to hear: “Don’t stop calling—check in once a week to stay in the mix.”

Now that doesn’t mean he should drive the artist to get a restraining order on him, but is the work done when a creative person has a meeting or drops off a sample, demo, or portfolio? Absolutely not. This is where a salesperson is needed to take over. For producer/engineers, that person is typically called a “manager”, but the real true skill and instinct possessed by those “managers” is Sales-Sales-Sales. In this case the product they’re selling is their creative person.

This “manager/salesperson” must be personable and able to be friendly with the people they are selling your work, but in every other way must be tireless and tenacious. This unique individual must be sharp enough to stay regularly in touch with the client, oft times not even talking about the business at hand, but all the while monitoring progress and being as aware as possible if they are looking at other options or simply solidifying a plan to work with you. Checking in once a week is a great interval. Keep focused on what the personal motivation of the client is to work with you in the first place and keep them focused too. Then, strike quickly when the time is right to move things forward. THIS IS SALES, BABY—NOTHING LESS. Once they commit you can switch hats and make them happy with your art.

In absence of a separate “manager/salesperson”, a creative person has to play both roles. I can tell you that it’s difficult to switch. Some of the qualities that make a creative person great at being creative are definitely not sales qualities. Seizing a moment of creative inspiration can mean dropping everything, changing plans, and riding the wave. This is the exact opposite of what a great sales person does when they relentlessly schedule calls and appointments, follow up, discover and research client needs and solve any problems to get the client to sign on the dotted line. That tenacious sales person then searches out the next client while the creative person does their work for the client at hand.

Sometimes this “manager/salesperson” has to push a bit to get people to commit and make a decision. Sometimes they have to push clients to keep their end of the agreement. In a perfect world, it’s best to allow the creative person to remain the zen-genius-character locked away in the womb of their studio giving birth to the coolest art you’ve ever heard.

On a slightly different topic, here are some of the ever-evolving business disciplines that I’ve been working on without a “manager/salesperson”:

1) Money in the morning. This gets the mundane out of the way right away for me and avoids conflicts with creative spurts.

2) Filing and other related data entry on Sunday. This task often gets rethought and rescheduled and when it does, it’s easy to let it pile up. When it piles up, my plan B is to invite friends over to talk to me while I do this, which makes it much more fun for me. Wine is not out of the question if they’re cute. These friends may think I’m a little weird, but it’s cheap therapy for them while mundane organization turns me into the world’s best listener. And I’m sure after reading my columns for a while, you all think I’m weird too. Whatever.

3) I make phone calls the moment I think of them. This more often than not puts me directly on the line with the person I’m calling. Ever have that thing happen where you think a lot about a friend and then they call you in a minute or so? I’m very in tune that way and when I think to call I do so I don’t have to play as much phone tag.

4) I use Facebook a little bit differently than most. I use course language when I want, and in addition to my love of music, I also talk about current events, religion, politics, sex, and generally anything else that intrigues me at the moment. This is not the way the experts suggest Facebook be used for business, but I don’t really care because I never intended to use Facebook for business. But the more people got to know me, the more I ended up getting business from Facebook. Being a creative business, my groups or friends and followers understand that it serves as more of a creative outlet for me than anything else. DISCLAIMER: You may not want to try this at home…

5) Because music tends to keep me hermited away in the studio, I deliberately do writing in restaurants, sports bars, etc. Being locked away from people is a sure recipe for isolation, the death of any business and fortunately I can filter out a lot of noise distraction when I write. Tonight while the Blackhawks played the Red Wings, I ignored the cheers and screams and when I took a bathroom break, I bumped into someone who will soon be a studio client. Without a manager/salesperson on hand, you must remain social, visible, and approachable as much as possible. You never know where your next opportunity may come from.

Dave Carlock
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